Once in a lifetime an opportunity comes along that allows us to influence the future, to make a lasting declaration and to preserve our heritage. We now have that opportunity before us with the pending decision to name for the county's new elementary school.
For those of you, like me, who are not Columbia County natives, let me explain.
Up through the 1950s the Columbia County school system consisted of several one-room school houses located throughout the county. Many of these schools were associated with a church in the area; often they were on church property. Under the 1956-57 Columbia County school building program, several one-room schools were closed and consolidated in new, larger schools. The one-room Stevens Creek School was closed, as well as the Oakey Grove School.
As we all know, there is now a modern Stevens Creek Elementary School. The new, unnamed Columbia County elementary school is located just 1 mile from the site of the original Oakey Grove School. They tell me that Oakey Grove Baptist Church still has some members who attended the original one-room school.
Columbia County natives, those of us who have children attending the new school, the leaders of the school system and the community have an opportunity to positively influence the future. We have a chance to be a part of history. Let's name the new school Oakey Grove Elementary School. Let's fund a small monument with a plaque for the entrance to identify the name's origin. Let's also place similar monuments at Stevens Creek, Lewiston and Euchee Creek, all of which carry names with historical or geographical significance to Columbia County.
Our community has a rich and diverse background that should be preserved! This is just one opportunity we cannot afford to ignore!
Dennis M. McClendon
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